Marine Corps veteran Russell Guzzetta, owner of Country Song Farm in Lithia, Fla., and his family stands in front of the Kubota L Series compact tractor he was awarded through Kubota’s Geared to Give program.
Kubota Tractor Corporation announced five new farmer veteran tractor recipients as part of its 2019 "Geared to Give" program in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). For the second year, Kubota honored five veterans, adding a fifth veteran last year to represent its newly-created Midwest operating division. In observance of Veterans Day, each veteran received the keys to their new Kubota L Series compact tractor in their respective hometowns in a special ceremony in recognition of their past U.S. military service and their continued service to their communities through farming.
In total, the program has provided equipment and grants to 31 farmer veterans through FVC's Fellowship Fund, which matches veterans' needs with donated resources to help them further their agriculture careers. The 2019 program received hundreds of applications from worthy veterans; in the end, one recipient was selected by and for each of Kubota's five operating divisions:
- Western Division: Soraya Pellan, retired U.S. Air Force veteran who served 20 years in the medical service field, is the owner of Pellan Farms outside of Omaha, Neb., which grows alfalfa hay for dairy farms and horse owners in her local area. Pellan and her husband, who reside in both Folsom, Calif., and Omaha, recently took ownership of their 74-acre farm which has been in her husband's family for more than 100 years. Having experienced severe flooding this year, Pellan is looking forward to putting the new Kubota tractor to use to repair the property. Pellan received her tractor from Kubota dealer Sacramento for Tractors in California.
- Central Division: Stephen Carter is a U.S. Army veteran who deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, Carter and his wife, Lola, own and operate Twisted Acres Farm, a 45-acre dairy goat operation, in Bristow, Okla. The Carters also raise cows and kunekune pigs and produce a variety of products including caramels, goat milk and goat milk soap. The new Kubota tractor will allow the Carters to be more efficient with their labor as they grow their beef and pork operations on their farm. Their supporting Kubota dealer is Kubota Center in Tulsa, Okla.
- Midwest Division: Jake Sass is a U.S. Army veteran and West Point graduate who served five deployments to Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2017, Sass and his wife, Abbey, started Civil Sass Hops, a three-acre hops yard in Chatfield, Minn., as a diversification arm of Hillside Farms, a generational family farm. The Sasses plan to use their new Kubota tractor for tasks like cover crop planting and maintenance, stringing, mowing and spraying. Their supporting Kubota dealer is St. Joseph Equipment in Eyota, Minn.
- Northern Division: Brion McClintock, a U.S. Army veteran who served one deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, owns and operates The Tenpenny Farm in Gardners, Pa., with his wife, Alicia, an Army National Guard veteran. On their 19-acre farm, the McClintocks raise and sell Boer goats, grow produce and small crops, sell firewood and make handmade crafts. Currently, the McClintocks do all tasks around their farm by hand and the new Kubota tractor will bring some much-needed efficiency to their growing operation. Their supporting Kubota dealer is Messick's Farm Equipment in Elizabethtown, Pa.
- Southeast Division: Russell Guzzetta is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Gulf War in support of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Guzzetta and his wife, Danielle, own and operate Country Song Farm in Lithia, Fla., a small cut flower farm where they grow sunflowers and zinnias, among many other varieties, and provide quality farm-fresh bouquets in their local community. The new Kubota tractor will help the Guzzettas with their chores like moving and tilling dirt, and with their plan to expand their operation to a full acre. The Guzzettas supporting dealer is Gulf Coast Tractor in Land O' Lakes, Fla.
Kubota's philanthropic mission is to "power and empower those who move the earth," and in that spirit, "Geared to Give" was born in partnership with FVC in 2015. To build on the program and extend its benefits to even more veterans, the company enhanced the program and is currently offering instant customer rebates on Kubota equipment for all FVC members.
"This program empowers farmer veterans to achieve their dreams," said Alex Woods, Kubota vice president of sales operations, supply chain and parts. "We are pleased to have selected these five very worthy veterans for this year's awards. It is an honor to work with each of them and the dealers who support them. We encourage more veterans to visit their local Kubota dealerships, meet their dealer and learn more about the program, and how Kubota products can help them bring their farming operations to the next level."
Michael O'Gorman, executive director of FVC, said, "One of the great joys of doing this work is being able to make a positive impact on our farmer veterans by providing them with the tools to succeed in their farming operations. Having horsepower on the farm is the ultimate gift for a farmer, especially for one that is just starting out. We are extremely grateful to continue this important work with Kubota's help to reach veterans in farming communities across the country."
In addition to the tractors, Land Pride donated implements to outfit each veteran with the right tools for their respective farming operations.
"We are proud to support our veterans and contribute to this great cause," said Dee Warren, marketing manager of Land Pride. "Knowing we're able to provide these farmer veterans with the right tools, right from the start is a great feeling and we are thankful for the opportunity to support these men and women."
Firebird Products, a Kubota supplier for aftermarket accessories, also donated Kubota-orange canopies for each tractor, which will help shield each operator from the elements.
"We are proud to support our nation's veterans and thankful for this ongoing partnership with Kubota that enables us to give back in this way," said Brad Curd, owner of Firebird Products.
Each year, farmer veterans can apply to the FVC Fellowship Fund in order to be considered for donated Kubota equipment through the "Geared to Give" program.
About Farmer Veteran Coalition
Based in Davis, Calif., Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) mission is mobilizing veterans to feed America. FVC works to develop a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and expand viable employment and career opportunities through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Through mentorship, peer support and career counseling, FVC supports veterans returning to or beginning careers in the food and farming industry. For more information, visit farmvetco.org.
About Land Pride
Land Pride, a Division of Great Plains Mfg. Inc., with multiple manufacturing facilities across North Central Kansas, has been a leader in grounds maintenance equipment throughout North America since 1986. Today Land Pride is a leading U.S. manufacturer of tractor mounted implements including rotary tillers, grooming mowers, seeders, rotary cutters, rear blades, landscape rakes, post hole diggers and grapples. For more information, visit landpride.com.
About Firebird Products LLC
Firebird Products LLC is a fiber reinforced product manufacturing facility. Located in the United States, it builds products that have a true American flavor. As an OEM supplier of Kubota Tractor Corporation for the E1123 and E1134 sunshades for the B, BX, Zero Turns, L, & M series utility tractors, product quality, unique design and value define Firebird products. Other products include Road Side Relics, replica gas pumps, gum ball machines, ice coolers, and clocks, all based on early 20th century Americana. For more information, call 623/934-9340 or visit firebirdfiberglass.com.
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